Bert felt jealous, cheated on, and blue. Then he discovered he could morph into a giant nightmarish slug...
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On Wednesdays and Sundays I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ novellas. You can check in regularly and read them bit for bit, or leave a message in my 'contact' page, and I'll send the entire digital story to you for free when published.
Life in the Clouds #6: Take a Slug ® James Field.
Part 09. Borrow a suit of armour…
Just then, Bert’s mobile phone rang: “Go ahead,” drooled the Clint Eastwood ringing tone, “make my day. Go ahead, make my...” Bert jabbed the answer button with his fat finger and lifted the phone to his ear. “Yeah, Bert here. What do you want?”
“Yeah, Alf, it always you when it’s you who rings, ain’t it.”
“I want to warn you about Morris.”
“He’s fast asleep in his pickup in the middle of the forest down by the lake. Keep your eye on him when you come on duty. We don’t want no harm coming to him.”
Bert ran his hand over the stubble on his head. “What’s he doing in the middle of the forest?”
Alf didn’t answer for a moment, and then he whispered, “A giant slug carried him there.”
Alf seldom made jokes, and this one wasn't especially funny, but Bert laughed anyway and waited for his friend to tell him the real reason.
Tired of being ignored, Olive sniffed and turned. “I’m off,” she said. “See you at the masquerade party tonight—if you recognise me.” She did a graceless twirl in the doorway and blew a kiss.
Alf talked in Bert’s ear, but Bert wasn’t listening. He couldn’t stand the thought of Olive with someone else. As soon as he heard the front door slam, he snapped his phone shut, dropped his dumbbells with a clang, and flopped down on his sofa. One dumbbell rolled to his feet. He kicked it into the kitchen and bowled the trashcan onto its side, spilling its smelly contents. He didn’t care; all he cared about was Olive’s cheating on him at the masquerade party later that evening.
Through a haze of despair, an idea formed. It was a masquerade, right? Nobody would recognise anybody else, right? The answer was simple. He’d dress up, go to the masquerade party, and spy on Olive.
A good plan, but what to go as: Batman, Superman, Spiderman? No, he didn’t have a costume, and anyway, those guys were so small and skinny. Perhaps he could borrow a suit of armour from The Cloud Mansion. That would work well, except he was far too big to fit any of them.
He couldn’t think of anything and dropped the idea. But then he saw his phone laying on the sofa by his side. Hadn’t Alf said something about a giant slug? He thought about it. Body painters walked around naked except for a coat of artistic paint. Surely, he could do the same?
It just so happened that a roofing contractor had fixed their roof a little while ago, and when he’d run off in a hurry, he’d left a large pot of tar behind. Big and heavy as he was, Bert thought there’d be plenty of goo left to smear over his body. Of course, sticky as he’d be, he wouldn’t dance with anyone at the masquerade. That wasn't a problem, all he really wanted was to stay in the background and keep an eye on Olive. It was a brilliant plan.
To be continued…
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Rather than miss an instalment, it’s easy to follow my blog on bloglovin’. They’ll give you a friendly nudge as I release new parts.
Like to know more about Alf, Bert and the rest of the gang? You can read their chaotic history in What on Earth.
Knight Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay Wall Image by JL G from Pixabay
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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike in this story. I like that it’s cosy, funny, and heart-warming. The plot, however, is a tragedy. There are two murders, and every character in the book, of which there are many, has a motif. With so many twists, turns, and red herrings throughout the narrative, it lost me in a virtual maze.
But the author commits the gravest crime: he introduces a new, guilty character right at the end of the story. Tut, tut, naughty.
View all my reviews